Nov 11, 2012 – Avoid The Spray


What is recommended for Skunk removal?


It is always importantfor control of any non-rodent mammal, and even some kinds of rodents, todetermine just how that animal is classified in your state with respect towildlife laws. For example, in California the wildlife laws classify raccoonsas "fur-bearing mammals" and have specific requirements in place forkilling them, if necessary, while skunks are classified as "non-game"animals with much looser regulations regarding killing them. In many cases itmay be necessary to kill a skunk that is causing problems around an urbanarea. 

It is equally importantto be familiar with what your state requires with respect to trapping andreleasing. Most states prohibit releasing trapped mammals "off site",meaning it is illegal to take them a few miles away and release them unharmed.To do this would require a permit from your state wildlife agency, andacquiring this would require a really good reason why simply releasing them onsite is not feasible. Releasing "on site" may also be defined in yourstate's wildlife laws, and one that I read stated that trapped animals must bereleased within 100 yards of where they were trapped. This makes it verydifficult to trap a skunk that is simply causing problems in a neighborhood andto do anything with it other than euthanize it in an acceptable manner. So manythings are tied into this, including whether or not you could legally shoot agun in an urban environment if dispatching it in that manner was yourchoice. 

It boils down toexclusion as the most acceptable and, in the long run, most effective means forcontrolling skunks. This is not going to stop the local skunks from roamingthrough open, unfenced neighborhoods, but even this can be minimized byeliminating the attractions that the skunks are after, such as available petfoods at night, fruits and vegetables on the ground, and of course grubs andother insects in turf. Spotted skunks are excellent climbers while stripedskunks are not, so maintaining good fences with no openings for the skunks canhelp to keep them out of backyards. If it is at least made inconvenient for theskunk to just wander into a yard through an available hole in the fence it willhelp to move them along to some other place. 

One of the biggestproblems with skunks is when they den under structures, bringing with themtheir fleas and other parasites and their awful smell. In some regions skunksalso have a high percentage of individuals infected with rabies. This is whenyou need the expertise to remove them or get them to leave on their own, andthen to permanently close the openings they were using. A trap can be set in acrawl space, for example, and baited with something very attractive to them. Canned cat food works well as long as you don't end up catching local cats. Marshmallows are also suggested, as is bacon, peanut butter, or other kinds of meat. There also are live traps designed for skunks that have solid sides, preventing the skunk from seeing you approach once you have it in the trap. For wire cage traps it often works well to approach the trap slowly with a large tarp or cloth in front of you, keeping yourself somewhat hidden, and drape it over the trap gently. This can keep the skunk from getting agitated enough to spray. But, if you see it raise its tail and fan it out or if the skunk faces you and starts stomping its feet, it is agitated and it's best to back off awhile. 

Work with your local animal control office on this, as they may be able to help you with the disposal or dispatch of a trapped skunk. 

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